Blurring the lines of nature and design in high-end residential architecture – Manila Bulletin
The comforts of home have been our solace for over a year now, trapped in the continuing cycle of COVID-19. Our new reality has given us the opportunity to spend more time at home, due to the persistent quarantine restrictions that persist in the Philippines.
These unusual circumstances have introduced a new perspective for homeowners and future homeowners who have an affinity for the finer things in life – that is, reinventing high-end residential architecture. As we will see in Arch. Luther Sim from Sim Ateliers, these upscale homes offer more than just a place to nest. Rather, they bring the world to you, bringing you all the joys of the outdoors within the confines of your property.
The new wave of residential design doesn’t come at a better time than it is now. For Sim, being at the forefront of experiential luxury architecture comes naturally to him. He shares with us his journey through the pandemic and how he learned to delight the senses and bring global design to the local scene.
Sim recounts his journey in the industry, noting that it didn’t happen overnight. For him, it has been a long process of getting comfortable with the realization that being on the “right track” means making frequent mistakes in the beginning. Sim thinks that “once you are able to create your own language and emulate your mentors, you can decide to start your own practice. This is where we decided to launch Sim Ateliers.
The start of this workshop paved the way for Sim’s interpretation of high-end residential architecture. We asked Sim to shed a little more light on the inner workings of luxury design. “There is a notion that once you are able to make a house, you are able to do everything else. We must always dance with our personal goal, as well as that of the client. It’s always about coexisting.
The goal of Sim Ateliers is not to escape the limelight. The design firm takes up the challenge of introducing an international flavor in a way that coincides with the local setting.
Sim recalls his process through architecture, stressing that the most important factor in their design is the translation of their vision to create a space in which their clients can enjoy and maximize all the spaces in their home.
“We have been very fortunate that our design program blurs the lines between indoors and outdoors. Customers tell us it’s great to have the ‘home-in-one’ experience so you never have to leave the comforts of home, ”he says.
Sim goes on to share that a common trend among customers is the desire to have large gathering spaces as well as intimate spaces in their home. “I even had a customer request for a bowling alley,” Sim recalls with a laugh. “These executions are very achievable for us to live here. So making luxury homes is also rewarding because you see both our vision and the clients’ vision come true. It also serves us as a more beautiful canvas to relay our architectural expression.
When discussing a client’s vision, Sim also emphasizes the importance of incorporating natural elements into the design. “Natural features weren’t always present in designs before. Decades ago, many houses would tend to be darker, darker, and with the landscape only after the fact. “
These days, the desire to enjoy the outdoors has elevated an owner’s tastes. The idea of blurring the boundaries between exterior and interior is a luxury in which Sim Ateliers believes.
“For the natural elements, we try as much as possible to maneuver it and integrate it into the design program. A good example is our project, Maison B. Maison B is an internationally renowned luxury residential space that showcases the best of Sim Ateliers’ vision and strategic planning, maximizing nature and its luxury.
For Sim, design isn’t just about being ‘Instagrammable’, it has to be about the language of the designer and how it is executed based on the vision shared between them and the client. When it comes to designing for the Filipino market, Sim emphasizes that it’s more about how the home responds to the weather, the rains, and the heat of the sun. “It is also our way of translating spaces according to our culture. Culturally, we want to come together socially. Inside the house there are spaces to be noisy and intimate spaces for quiet moments.
The peculiarity of Filipino architecture is the way it adapts to the minds of the Filipinos. “My vision is for international clients to come to us and ask for a house like the ones they see in the Philippines,” says Sim. “There is a new generation of architects who have big dreams. Today we wonder if the Philippines can be considered a hub of international design. What I am telling you is that yes we can!
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